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Exams and assessment

Exceptional circumstances

During your studies you might be faced with unforeseen personal, medical or family problems that are outside your control and are negatively affecting your academic performance in your assessments. Such problems are known as 'exceptional circumstances'.

If you believe that what is happening to you is affecting your ability to prepare for assessment, then it is your responsibility to let your School know what is happening to you. 

In exceptional circumstances you should submit an exceptional circumstances claim form with supporting evidence. The University will decide what action can be taken if your circumstances have affected your performance or your ability to complete your assessment. 

Please be aware that we are dealing with a large volume of requests for exceptional circumstances claims and we will get back to you with an outcome as soon as possible. It may not be possible to review your claim before your assessment deadline. Therefore, we encourage you to continue on your assignment to the best of your ability as we cannot guarantee that the outcome you have requested will be approved. 


For 2020-21, you can now self-certify for short-term absences. You must still notify the University of your circumstances to receive an extension for up to 7 days. This can apply to more than one assignment if the deadlines fall within the same week. You can apply for self-certification online. Self-certification may normally only be used on one occasion of illness in an academic year. 

COVID-19 guidance for 2020-21

In order to reduce the burden on the NHS due to coronavirus, you will not be required to submit medical evidence in support of your claim for exceptional circumstances in Semester 1 in 2020-21. This will be reviewed for Semester 2. 

IT issues will not be accepted as grounds for exceptional circumstances, as students are expected to have returned to campus with access to IT facilities and wifi.

If you are self isolating:

If you are required to self-isolate and cannot attend teaching sessions, you must notify the University through the absence form. This is to allow the University to keep track of potential COVID-19 cases. 

Self-isolation is vital to stop the spread of the virus, so if you have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team or are living with someone displaying COVID-19 symptoms then you must self-isolate in accordance with Government advice

If you are self-isolating and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you will still be expected to attend online teaching sessions and submit assessments. Self-isolating will not normally be accepted as exceptional circumstances, and any claims on this basis will be declined. 

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19:

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have received a positive test result, you must notify the University through the absence form. You must also ensure that you are self-isolating. 

If you are unwell, and are unable to attend online teaching, you must notify the University through the absence form. If you need extensions on your assessments due to being unwell from symptoms of COVID-19, then please submit an exceptional circumstances form. There is no need to obtain medical evidence, but if you have notification of a positive test result, please include that when you submit your form. 

If you are unwell (not related to COVID-19) for any other reason:

If you are unwell due to a short-term acute physical illness you can use the self-certification process to request a short extension for up to 7 days. It is not necessary, and may not be appropriate, to seek medical attention for your illness. You can view the policy and apply for self-certification using the forms below. 

If an extension of 7 working days is not long enough, you can submit an exceptional circumstances claim form and medical evidence if not required for Semester 1 of 2020-21. This will be reviewed for Semester 2. 

If you are experiencing mental health or other difficulties due to COVID-19: 

The University recognises the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and that students may be affected in different ways by the situation. Where you apply for exceptional circumstances on the grounds of mental health, we recommend you engage with the University's wellbeing service, which offers appointments online. If you have evidence from a GP or counselling service, please include this with your form. 

Applying for exceptional circumstances

Extension to your period of study (programme extension)

You can apply for an extension to your period of study if you have completed all teaching for your final year of studies but have been unable to complete the programme's final assessments in the normal timescale due to exceptional circumstances. 

You can apply for a programme extension if you wish to request an extension of more than 6 weeks to your expected programme end date. 

Applying for a programme extension

Injuries and medical issues

If you have a temporary injury that impacts upon your ability to write you can find out if any special arrangements can be made by contacting

Jury service

If you are summoned for jury service during the examination period you may be able to apply to defer your jury service. Alternatively, you may apply for exceptional circumstances to delay your exam.

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